Serial was the definition of binge listening when it was launched in 2014 : NPR


Adnan Syed, coronary heart, leaves the Cummings Courthouse in Baltimore on Monday. A decide has ordered the discharge of Syed after overturning his conviction for a 1999 homicide that was chronicled inside the hit podcast Serial.

Brian Witte/AP


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Adnan Syed, coronary heart, leaves the Cummings Courthouse in Baltimore on Monday. A decide has ordered the discharge of Syed after overturning his conviction for a 1999 homicide that was chronicled inside the hit podcast Serial.

Brian Witte/AP

“Adnan’s case was a large quantity. Is a large quantity. that is the place we had been after we stopped reporting in 2014,” says Serial host Sarah Koenig in her straightforward, private mannequin inside the mannequin new episode titled Adnan Is Out.

In 2014, over the course of 12 episodes, Serial probed the particulars of the homicide case of Hae Min Lee, Adnan Syed’s former girlfriend. Lee was found strangled to dying in Baltimore’s Leakin Park in 1999.

In 2000, Syed was convicted of murdering Lee when he was 17 years outdated. He spent 23 years in jail. On Monday, in a Baltimore courtroom, a decide dominated to vacate his conviction.

past the great influence Serial has had on Syed’s case and on exposing the factors inside the authorized system, the podcast broke new floor in episodic, audio storytelling.

Created and produced by Koenig and Julie Snyder, Serial was a by-product of This American Life. With some 300 million downloads, the major season broke podcast data and spawned a cottage enterprise of true crime podcasts. It obtained almost every major journalism award collectively with a DuPont and a Peabody, the major ever awarded to a podcast. Koenig was named definitely one of Time’s Most Influential people of 2015.


Sarah Koenig collectively with her award on the 74th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony at Cipriani Wall road in NY metropolis on might 31, 2015.

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Sarah Koenig collectively with her award on the 74th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony at Cipriani Wall road in NY metropolis on might 31, 2015.

Jemal Countess/Getty photos

Barry Scheck, co-director of The Innocence challenge, realized about Serial from his kids. on the time, podcasting expert one factor of a generational divide. He believes dogged reporting, a reliance on consultants and propulsive storytelling had been key to its success.

He says the approach by which Koenig related the viewers with Serial‘s reporting made for compelling listening. “definitely one of many intriguing elements of the Serial podcast is that everyone heard her thought processes out loud,” says Scheck, “and that is a part of the attraction of it. you already know, we’re all on this collectively making an try to suppose, is he innocent? Is he responsible?”

There’s the story after which there’s the dialogue it provoked. inside the case of Serial, they labored in tandem.

The Serial phenomenon was not almost making an try to unravel the crime itself. It was additionally regarding the enormous neighborhood devouring every episode after which choosing it aside on-line. Journalists at The Atlantic blogged about it. a spot to debate Serial: The Podcast on Reddit reached better than seventy two million members.

As Christopher Dunn, authorized Director of the mannequin the new york Civil Liberties Union, marveled in 2015, Serial “unleashed a spirited and vast-ranging civil rights debate on the internet,” he wrote. “most significantly, the dialogue discussion board Reddit, which is enormously trendy with youthful people, exploded with commentary from tens of 1000’s of dad and mom that debated and investigated every side of the case, lots of which the podcast had not addressed.”

the thought to delve into Syed’s case originated with Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer and undoubtedly one of Syed’s buddies and supporters. She pitched the thought to Koenig. As Serial unfolded, Chaudry blogged about every episode, sharing her information of the case and airing complaints regarding the approach by which she felt producers had been dealing with facets of the story.

Chaudry was additionally struck by how her views had been altering proper into a part of the narrative. “i noticed that whereas I and others shut to Adnan had been mired inside the trivia of each the case and current, we had been a part of that case and current for the general public. Our interactions on-line had been being talked about, we had been being judged and assessed, we had been including each leisure and substantive worth to the discourse. We had been additionally characters inside the larger story,” she wrote.

Chaudry went on to jot down her guide and produce a podcast about Syed. She’s additionally an authorities Producer on The Case in opposition to Adnan Syed, a 4-half HBO documentary sequence.

whereas Scheck is blissful to see your full fully different true crime podcasts Serial impressed, he urges warning to anyone who thinks it is straightforward to do it effectively.

“it is one factor to have a podcast and test out to inform a narrative. it is pretty one other to get into the enterprise of exposing a wrongful conviction,” he says.

Scheck says Serial benefitted from a workforce that knew what they did not know.

“What was good about Serial is that they made no pretense at every flip,” says Scheck. “They had been making an try to level to investigators, they had been making an try to level to consultants. They had been counting on the viewers for leads. they usually went about it in a terribly expert approach.”

“To say it was addictive is an understatement,” Scottish actor Ewan McGregor wrote in Time’s Most Influential people entry for Sarah Koenig. “all of a sudden, investigative journalism grew to become our curiosity, our ardour. people had been talking about it all by way of the place you went. It was a exact cultural phenomenon.”

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